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Domestic and Family Violence during Covid-19 Five Things you can do Right Now

For people experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV), home is not a place of safety during the Covid-19 crisis. As a pastor or church leader you may know of people in your church or community who are experiencing DFV. For facts on domestic and family violence, descriptions of the different types of violence and tips on how to respond, please visit BaptistCare’s More than Skin Deep website at: https://morethanskindeep.org.au/

 

We recommend that you consider the following five things at this time: 

  1. Keep in contact with someone who you suspect or know is experiencing domestic and family violence in the home. Can you do a regular phone call check-in or keep in touch via an online platform? Is there a code that someone can use to signal when it is safe to call for a check-in?
  2. Make sure you know the right numbers to call (national hotlines and for your local area) if you have a question or you need to make a referral. What services are in your area and are they still operating? Some national numbers and websites are listed below.
    • Please note that BaptistCare is able to do phone and online counselling for people experiencing DFV. For BaptistCare phone or online counselling, please call 1300 130 225 (if calling from a landline) or (02) 8713 4333 (if calling from a mobile).
    • The person experiencing DFV needs to call the above intake numbers to make an appointment. You cannot make an appointment on behalf of someone else.
  3. For emergency situations please call 1800 RESPECT. Safety planning within the home is possible and there are forms to assist with this. Is there a room that they can go to if things are escalating? Is there a space they can go to that is free from weapons or sharp objects? Can you assist with developing an escape plan if needed? Two options for safety planning are below: 
  4. Develop a code for “I need help” that someone can text you if they need you to call the police.
  5. Make sure you are aware of your Mandatory Reporting Requirements. Visit your state’s Mandatory Reporting website for advice.
Questions to help you determine a response in the acute phase:

Before your church embarks on a new endeavour to provide for the essential needs of your community, consider the following:

Emergency Response Questions

  1. Could we support some other group in this activity?
  2. If there is no other group doing it, can our church do it and still comply with government requirements?
  3. How does it fit with our church’s current capacity?  Who can take carriage of it?

GREEN LIGHT

  • Be equipped for responding to Domestic and Family Violence during Covid-19
  • Information sheet produced: “Domestic and Family Violence during Covid-19: 5 things you can do right now”
  • BaptistCare Phone numbers for DFV counselling services via phone and online.
  • For BaptistCare phone or online counselling, please call 1300 130 225 (if calling from a landline) or (02) 8713 4333 (if calling from a mobile).  The person experiencing DFV needs to call the above intake numbers to make an appointment. You cannot make an appointment on behalf of someone else.
  • For emergency situations please call 1800 RESPECT.

ORANGE LIGHT

  • Consider your essential services during Covid-19
  • Churches can continue to operate essential services out of their church as per advice from        the NSW Ministry of Health.  Please see Part 4, Section 7 (4a and b) Public Health (Covid-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020, effective 31 March 2020. Put appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures in place.
  • Essential services include services to assist vulnerable members of the public for example a food bank or a service providing for the needs of homeless people.
  • Order available at  https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/public-health-orders listed as “Public Health (Covid-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020” 

RED LIGHT

  • Stop and review your church activities.
  • Adapt all existing essential activities to comply with regulations.
    • Are there activities you should cease doing for now?
    • If you make changes to existing activities, remember to review them on a regular basis to see if they are meeting their intended purposes.
    • Covid-19 creates an opportunity for churches to do things differently and review what changes could be helpful for the church after Covid-19.
Phone Numbers
1800 RESPECT
Men’s Line: 1300 766 491
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
BaptistCare Phone and Online Counselling: 1300 130 225 (if calling from landline) or (02) 8713 4333 (if calling from a mobile)

Helpful Websites
1800 Respect homepage: https://www.1800respect.org.au/
Relationships Australia: http://www.relationships.org.au/
Lifeline: https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/topics/domestic-family-violence
For Translating Services: https://www.tisnational.gov.au/

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